Summer: 2014 is forever behind us, and we can say with gratefulness that it is with God’s mercy that we are still able to continue on serving Him.
Today, the doors are open to evangelism. The Apostle Paul, in describing his encounters with other apostles (Galatians 2:9-10), wrote that along with Barnabas he was asked by the apostles to join them in ministry: “they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me” and “likewise asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”
Last summer we were able to host two tent camps and eight camps in orphanages across Belarus. In each of the tent camps we had three different waves of campers: young children, people with disabilities, and adolescents (from nearby needy families, as well as orphanages).
In order to maintain communication between the different camps, and to be of assistance to our volunteers, it was necessary for us to spend a great deal of time on the road. After the first two weeks we realized that we had already driven almost 5,000 miles! While crisscrossing the country, we would spend our nights in the homes of acquaintances and newly-made friends. It was with sadness that we looked upon the poverty that many of them live in. We were often reminded of the aforementioned words of the Apostle Paul, but the means to help them all was often limited.
After Belarus a number of our volunteers returned home, while others continued on in ministry to Siberia.
Fall 2014: In September, we hosted a reunion for our American volunteers and began preparing for our Christmas trip. We also sent out a container to Belarus, the contents of which consisted of goods for those in need and items that we would need for our 2015 summer camp season.
Winter 2014-2015: By God’s mercy we were able to return in December to the children waiting for us in Belarus. The team consisted of 14 individuals—ten from America, and four from Belarus. The winter trips are often the most grueling: in the span of three short weeks it is necessary to drive 5,000 miles in order to visit more than 60 locations with our Christmas program. The Christmas program consisted of a play, Christian songs, and a word of encouragement and blessing. At the end of the program, the children were given presents, while the staff was given chocolate. This past December, we were able to hand out 4,500 presents!
We not only visited orphanages, but “homes for invalids” we well. The bedridden and wheelchair bound were excited to have visitors. We were also given the chance to stop by “homes for the elderly,” as well as small foster homes and hospitals. Thousands of children and adults were told about the birth of the Savior!
Spring 2015: At this moment we are preparing for summer. By God’s mercy, we plan to have ten summer camps in Belarus and two in Russia. We are keeping busy by:
- Hosting a seminar to prepare our 2015 volunteers.
- Purchasing and packing needed items for the camps.
- Fundraising (Russian lunches and dinners, Mother’s Day fundraiser, etc.).
- Printing logos on several hundred t-shirts for our 2015 campers.
*“Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest” (Luke 10:2); please pray that many more individuals could respond to the call and come alongside in the work being done in orphanages.
*For our fundraising endeavors; for the necessary sum to be raised for our summer camps.
*In addition to our normal camp programs, we’d also like to find the means to help those in need, and especially the disabled.